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Race and Education 2012


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Young, gifted and black in a (white and)changing landscape - What can a college do?

Young, gifted and black in a (white and)changing landscape - What can a college do?

Published in: Education, Spiritual
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  • OFSTED 2005
    Most colleges had effective procedures to tackle and prevent racism. A majority of colleges aimed to promote an atmosphere of mutual respect and appreciation of diversity through displays of positive images, an effective tutorial system and the good example set by staff. The numbers of race-related incidents reported by colleges were small, and swift action was taken where these occurred. Inspection reports and survey visits show that colleges in areas of racial tension and where right-wing political groups are active are very aware of their pivotal role in the community and the large majority actively seek to provide a safe and harmonious environment for all learners. Most learners met by inspectors knew how to access their colleges’ complaints procedures and understood the policies on tackling racial harassment. Almost all learners stated that they felt safe in the college environment. In the small minority of colleges where concerns were expressed, learners and staff identified that a range of actions and procedures had been put in place and that the issues had been resolved. However, in one college, a lack of determination in the approach to race relations allowed racist attitudes to be openly expressed.
    Good practice (2): tackling and preventing racism
    Key factors in effectively tackling racism are:
    awareness-raising and effective, swift, anti-racist procedures backed up by senior staff. Demonstration of the college’s commitment to equality and respect for all, through posters and displays, creates an environment where learners recognise and reject racist behaviour. This is supported by readily accessible complaints and anti-bullying procedures, and discussions within tutorials and the curriculum. In one college, mentors are provided to support learners in reporting racist incidents and a ‘hate reporting system’ has been developed to ensure that all staff and learners can easily do so.
    close attention to the social context, and the provision of staff who have the skills to intervene effectively. In one college, a youth worker was successfully employed to integrate learners of different racial groups, after one group ‘took over’ the common room, causing others to feel intimidated. This defused potential racial tension.
    collaboration with other local organisations. Some colleges act as reporting centres for local anti-racism initiatives, working in conjunction with the police and race equality groups in the area. Other examples include anti-racist activities with local football clubs.
    attention to security. Effective but sensitively-managed security arrangements, carried out by staff who understand the local context, can prevent and resolve conflict.
  • 7 in 10 BME people live in poorest council wards
  • Transcript

    • 1. Young, gifted and black in a (white and) changing landscape What can a college do? Brenda Weston Equality Development/Policy and research officer
    • 2. Labour Equality Act: Coalition government • Mismatch between Equality Act and coalition priorities • ‘Equality Strategy’ - shifts the equality agenda • New policy landscape an obstacle course for progressing equality • Localism - lack of focus on social justice and equalities
    • 3. How the landscape is changing • Deficit reduction, public spending cuts • Big Society/Localism • Diversification in major service provision (NHS, schools, work programme) • Cutting Red Tape/bonfire of the quangos • Elected Police Commissioners • ‘Equality’ - reframed and redefined
    • 4. Deficit reduction and ‘front loaded’ public spending cuts Loss of security and access to support • Disproportionate loss of public sector jobs for BME communities and women • EMA abolished • ESOL cut • Youth services cut / outsourced • BME self-help and support groups (e.g. RECs) folding/ demand for support services increasing • Welfare and legal aid cuts, law centres closing • Public sector E&D specialists redundant/reassigned • Specialist police units threatened/disbanded (hate crime)
    • 5. The Big (white) Society Risk of exclusion under Localism • Decisions devolved to lowest possible level (LAs, parish councils, ‘neighbourhood groups’) • ‘Communities’ can • Bid to take over public assets and run services • Instigate referendums on local tax and spending (50+% of those voting will decide outcome) • Concerns about • Minority/marginalised people’s’ interests and voices • Scarcity of resources > strains on community cohesion • ‘Neighbourhood group’ accountability/legal responsibilities? • Individuals/equality groups expected to challenge on equality
    • 6. Diversification of services Responsibility for Equality Duty? • Multiple providers – local / multi-national • Fragmented delivery • Different rules governing provision (free schools, academies; Work Programme providers) • Confusion, lack of consistency, lack of transparency for service users
    • 7. Cutting Red Tape/bonfire of quangos Reduced capacity /commitment to progress/ enforce equality • Regulatory and enforcement bodies (Audit Commission, EHRC) abolished/weakened • ‘Light touch regulations’ Ofsted, Specific Duties • End of targets and indicators: National Indicators, PSAs, Local Area Agreements, CAAs • Red Tape Challenge - ‘spotlight’ on the Equality Act • Best Value guidance – LA s advised against equality monitoring • Parts of Equality Act abandoned/reversed
    • 8. Election of police commissioners Politicisation of policing? • Concerns about policing priorities determined by elected individuals • Action on hate crime - locally determined?
    • 9. Equality reframed: Coalition Equality Strategy Reduced emphasis on race equality • (new approach) “moves away from treating people as groups or ‘equality strands’ and instead recognises that we are a nation of 62 million individuals.” • Concerns about a ‘hierarchy of equality’ - Up: LGB and Trans, gender (in the board room); Down: Race, disability, age, R and B. • Language of ‘equality’ being replaced by ‘fairness’
    • 10. Implications for BME students A more uncertain world for BME students • Schools - policies on admissions, bullying, equality in practice? • Home – BME job losses, impacts of Welfare Reforms and other cuts • Neighbourhoods - Fewer safe spaces for young people/ getting heard as a minority voice/ less community-based and equalities-aware policing/ fewer BME support organisations/ more racial tensions…? • Access to services and support – more difficult accessing information, advice, advocacy, protection, justice?
    • 11. SW BME focus group on colleges • Schools and colleges often do not understand BME communities or the needs of BME students • Colleges unwilling to consult BME people about learning needs and aspirations ... • Leads to inability to target courses or design publicity attractive to BME people • Language issues a barrier for some – Celebrate cultural differences – Customise marketing – Improve services for BME students
    • 12. Colleges - creating a safe and nourishing environment • Inclusive images in all publicity – check your mirror! • Equality monitoring in all management and performance data collection • Facilitate BME student focus and consultation groups • Advertise for staff in BME press • Zero tolerance of bullying and harassment – in practice and in policies • Staff training and awareness of racism and its impacts
    • 13. .... and say it with posters!
    • 14. Discussion?